The Sandspur Thread Brought Back Old Memories...

brute(Florida 9B)September 26, 2012

Of my long-ago Florida childhood. West Palm Beach wasn't completely built-out like it is today. In those days there were numerous empty lots in most neighborhoods, totally infested with sandspurs. All of us kids went barefoot when we weren't in school. Of course, when we walked anywhere, we always took every shortcut we could find. Many of these shortcuts were across these vacant sandspur-infested lots.

Every kid for miles around knew that if you dashed across these "minefields" at top speed, you wouldn't pick up any sandspurs in your feet. It sounds ridiculous, but it worked every time.

Why? I have no idea! But it did. Every time!

There wasn't even any pain where sandspurs stuck and were then knocked off your racing feet.

It was as if they never stuck in the first place!

How can this even be?!

I once e-mailed the TV show, Mythbusters, and suggested they look into this subject. They didn't, and I never heard back from them. Maybe they figured this was even too weird for THEM.

Have any of you even heard of this "running through the sandspurs" trick, or am I stuck in a Twilight Zone episode?

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I never was a fast runner, so this didn't work for me. I grew up in Florida, too, and we never had a pair of shoes on for the entire summer with the exception of those cheap rubber flip-flops until the thong that went between the toes would break or come loose while in the middle of a sprint, it's a wonder we survived without breaking our necks. We always had sand-spurs imbedded in the bottoms of those when we came home. Us girls were always subject to the mean little neighborhood boys' constant harassment, so we learned to snatch up a couple of long stalks of brown, hard sand-spurs and carry them with us on our ventures. We would fling them onto the little bugger's backs at the first sign of mayhem and they would scurry away like little cockroaches.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 6:42AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

I grew up in South Carolina and when we would visit some friends who lived on the edge of Lake Wateree, every dash to the lakeside resulted in at least one kid stopping to pull sandspurs out of their feet. And we grew up barefootin' whenever we could. I was a fairly fast runner back then and even I had to stop every now and then. It eventually got to where we knew which parts of the yard to avoid.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:20AM
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stuartwanda(N. Stuart)

Back when I grew up in Vero our feet were like leather because of no shoes! Nothing much hurt out feet. I always avoided the sandspur patch though, except for the wars we had.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:29AM
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I don't know if I got less stuck in my feet, but they dang sure seem to hurt more now than they did then.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 5:58PM
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I'd love to see those Mythbusters dudes running through a patch of sandspurs barefooted. That would be great!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 3:12PM
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I grew up in Clearwater in the 50's and 60's and, since we went barefoot everywhere, the bottoms of my feet were so covered with calluses that the sandspurs never bothered. But, they would stick to your legs and/or pants so they were (heavily) distributed on every neighbor's lawn.

Speaking of things sticking to you, what are those weeds called, the ones with a small flat oval pod less than 1/5 of a dime's width, that stuck to your legs and pants? The stalk was about the size of a sandspur stalk but the pods had "hair" on them that made them a devil to get off you. I never see them growing anywhere now.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 5:03PM
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Do you mean Beggar's Lice? Here's a link. We have those here also Spanish Needles which are hitchhikers, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beggar's Lice

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 5:47PM
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that's them!!!!! Beggar's Lice are they? Now I know. Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 4:54PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Yup, Beggar Weeds, but they didn't hurt!

I grew up in Seminole in the late 50's, went barefoot all summer and running through sandspur patches never worked for me. I do have fond memories of sandspur battles though, each warrior picked a bunch of sandspur stalks and then the throwing assault began, the southern equivalent of snowball fights up north :-)


    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

Oh good grief Tom. Thanks for that memory. We did the same thing in SC. The one with the most sandspurs stuck to their shirt lost!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:19AM
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brute(Florida 9B)

When I was an 8th grade savage, me and another kid used to shoot spit wads through Bic pen tubes onto the seat of our math teacher's pants when he turned toward the blackboard, while the rest of the class looked on approvingly. Then, when that thrill faded, we shot straight pins shoved through a tiny, rolled-up pieces of cotton ball (sorta like feathers on an arrow). We ended up tossing sandspur clusters. Nothing seem to get his attention.
Good thing we ended up graduating the eighth grade when we did. We would have probably escalated to firearms eventually.
I think all 8th grade teachers should receive combat pay! SAVAGES!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 1:38PM
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